Important Settlement with UC Berkeley on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities
See this press release, which begins:
Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) and the University of California, Berkeley announced a settlement agreement today that will significantly improve information access for students with print related disabilities. The settlement puts in place a range of new policies and procedures to ensure that print disabled students have access to all of the written material students need to read to succeed in a university setting. The University’s Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri explained: “We live in the age of information. It is critical that students with print disabilities be able to take the same advantage of academic and employment opportunities as all Berkeley students.”
DRA’s Executive Director Larry Paradis commented that “Disability Rights Advocates commends the University of California, Berkeley for implementing this new system to break down barriers to higher education. UC Berkeley has taken on an important leadership role in addressing the barriers that all too often cause difficulty for students with print disabilities. This settlement is a model plan that colleges and universities should consider adopting nationwide.”Some key points of the settlement:
Pleased with the experience of engaging in the one year structured negotiations process, Paul Hippolitus, Director, Disabled Students' Program remarked:“Throughout this process, I was especially proud of the University's leadership, as well as our students and their representatives, for holding the same values and principles of equity and inclusion for students with disabilities. As the birth place of the disability rights movement, UC Berkeley has had a long and illustrious history of supporting disability rights. With this agreement, a new chapter in this history has been written. This process has again reminded me of the value of disability advocacy efforts, such as those of DRA -- which help institutions reassess their position.”
- Students who request course materials in alternative media can now expect to receive textbooks in 10 business days and course readers in 17 business days.
- The University has created and implemented a new Library print conversion system, the first of its kind in the nation, to enable students with print disabilities to request that a specific library book or journal be converted into an accessible digital format, with an average turnaround time of five business days.